Like, Coffe: The Meaning of Latte Art

5 Apr

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About a month or so ago, my old editor at Poor Taste contacted me about writing a regular coffee column. Given my history with the corporate coffee industry, I jumped on the chance at looking deeper into coffee and digging through the world of independent shops and roasters.

Today, my first column was published and I couldn’t be more excited. I miss writing and I really miss food writing and I’m very happy to be doing it again.

Like, Coffee: The Meaning of Latte Art

When quality coffee comes into question, most thoughts turn instantly to taste and flavor. But major roasters have brought in a new and critical aspect – appearance. As many of the city’s major roasters are proving, it’s no longer enough to just produce a quality roast and delicious drink; the café experience is now defined by taste and presentation.

Beautiful latte art is becoming a new standard for craft coffee shops. Go to most of San Francisco’s roasters, and any milk-based drink will be adorned with foamy designs that range from leaves and branches to hearts and stars.

“People have come to expect it at any of the major roasters,” says Dennis Medina, a barista at Sightglass Coffee. “Latte art skills are expected for the job.” A prospective barista can’t qualify for a job at Sightglass unless they have knowledge and skills in latte art.

“It reminds someone that this cup of coffee is something to take notice of,” says Ritual Coffee Roasters barista Grant MacHamer. “[Latte art] makes it special. People tend to stop and take a look at it.”

While latte art is aesthetically pleasing, it is more than just a pretty presentation. As MacHamer says, it shows that the barista is making the drink right the first time and that they know what they’re doing. It shows that a barista can pull an accurately timed shot, perfectly froth the milk, and pour a delicious drink. An artfully poured milk-based drink is a testament to the barista’s skills. Latte art is not something for novices. Many baristas take their time to learn how to make those pretty leaves and swirls that mark the foam. And it is because of this that patrons are taking notice.

“It gives the whole experience,” says Medina. “It makes people feel better about paying that much for a craft cup of coffee.”

Though latte art may seem like it is practiced for customers’ sake, in many ways it’s not. The art gives baristas a chance to set themselves apart and learn a craft, not just a practice. As MacHamer explains, “the process makes it feel like more of a craft than an assembly line.”

The next time a barista presents a pristine latte with frothy designs, remember that it is not just art. It’s a craft, a delicious, delicious craft.


My Favorite Photo

29 Mar

No Matter how many photos I take, I still believe this is my favorite.

It is a photo of one of my close friends who is now a fellow editor. Funny to think how far we have come and hopefully how far we will go.

Rip it Up and Start Again

5 Mar

There are times when it’s necessary to dismantle the core of something, of anything, and start again.

Hence this blog post.

I’ve kept the username CappThisGirl since I first moved to the city in 2009 and though my life has changed dramatically, I’m keeping it. After moments of complete breakdown, it’s best to, for better or worse, rip it up and start again. That being said, I’ve deleted all the original content, found another jankey free layout, and deleted all the old pictures, because as I want to start anew. So will my blog.

Put into perspective, the last few months are relatively nothing on the great timeline of life, but I feel as though my whole life has evolved into something completely different. In simpler terms than I really care to write, I wasn’t happy with my life, so I changed it. I got a new job, moved out of my old apartment, my old neighborhood, entered into a new relationship, took a step back and reevaluated everything.

Which brings us back to the blog. Though everything has changed, in many ways everything is still the same. I’m still writing, I’m still working, harder now than ever before, I still hold the same people near and dear to my heart, I still put on the same records every night and find solace in their deep grooves, I’m still keeping the name and blog. As much as I hate to admit it, Capp Street, and everything it represented to me, is a part of me. And thus, it will live on through the name I chose and choose to keep.

I’m going to try and attempt to throw myself back into the world of blogging. But, given my responsibilities and schedule, throwing myself really means dipping my feet in one toe at a time. So with shaky feet, I’m attempting to reenter into the blogosphere (or whatever you crazy kids call it these days) and keep up some semblance of a personal blog and portfolio.

Hello world (Hopefully this time it sticks.)